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Man Gets Life In Prison After Killing Teen

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A man in Texas was sentenced to life in prison after murdering an 18-year-old girl who was returning a Redbox movie.

On Jan. 20,  Antonio Cochran, 37, was convicted of the 2015 murder of Zoe Hastings, reports KXAS.

Initially, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office had sought the death penalty, yet dropped the plan after experts found Cochran to be intellectually disabled.

In addition to his life sentence, Cochran also received a fine of $10,000.

It appears the Hastings family approves of the sentence.

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"I believe if he gets out of prison, he's going to do the same thing to somebody else," Zoe's father, Jim, said. "I'd hate that my daughter died and he goes and does it to somebody else."

The young woman was returning a DVD to a Redbox machine in a Walgreens pharmacy on her way to church when Cochran entered her vehicle, Dallas News reports.

Before slashing her throat, authorities say Cochran drove Zoe to a nearby creek bed and sexually assaulted her.

Authorities later found Cochran's DNA on the bloody knife he left at the scene.

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"There are no words that can express our sorrow to the Hastings family for having to endure such a traumatic and tragic loss,"  Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said in a statement. "We will continue to pray for them and while we cannot bring Zoe back, we hope this outcome will help them heal. On behalf of my team who worked on this case, I want to thank the jury for their service. Their sentence ensures that Antonio Cochran will no longer have the opportunity to harm another person again."

Cochran has a long history of criminal activity and has been previously convicted of assault, theft, and burglary.

In February 2014, he was arrested after being accused of raping a teenage girl in a car, but Cochran was acquitted in January 2015.

News of Zoe's murder shocked and moved people across the country, prompting many nationwide to donate to the cause, which raised over $46,000 for the family.

"Zoe's parents, Cheryl, a nurse, and Jim, a teacher, loved and adored their oldest child beyond words, and were so proud of her accomplishments," wrote Ginger Greenberg, the victim's aunt, on the GoFundMe page she had set up.  Initially, the campaign was only seeking to raise $20,000.

"Zoe was an outstanding young woman on the cusp of starting her life," she added. "She was loving, kind, hard working and full of life."

Sources: KXASDallas News, GoFundMe / Featured Image: radcliffe dacanay/Flickr / Embedded Images: Nate/Wikimedia Commons (2)

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